The Icelandic two times Eurovision contestant Greta Salóme is one of the songwriters of the song Crazy, a song that will compete to be UK’s contribution in this years Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon come May.
The song is written in collaboration with the songwriters Emil Lei and Samir Elshay which, like Greta Salóme, were handpicked by the BBC to write songs for the competition this year.
Greta Salóme is in a taxi on her way into London from Gatwick airport when she answers the phone call from GayIceland. She says she is very proud and happy to have been picked as one of about twenty songwriters the BBC gathered in Copenhagen last September to write songs for their
“It is a great honour to have been chosen for this task,” says Greta Salóme when asked her how she feels about it. “I had never considered writing Eurovision songs for anyone but myself but I got this offer and one does not say no to the BBC, does one?”
“I had never considered writing Eurovision songs for anyone but myself but I got this offer and one does not say no to the BBC, does one?”
Roughly twenty songwriters from different countries were gathered together in Copenhagen for four days in September where they were split into teams of three to collaborate on the songs. Greta Salóme says she had never worked with Lei and Elshay before but that they had really clicked and worked well together.
“They are great songwriters,” she explains. “And we hit it off right away. We were split into different teams for each of those four days and given a theme for the song we were to write that day. When I was teamed with Lei and Elshay the theme was an upbeat song. The result was Crazy which was chosen as one of the six songs to compete in Brighton on February 7th as the UK’s contribution in Lisbon.”
The song Crazy is indeed upbeat and although Greta Salóme maintains that it is very different from her other Eurovision songs one can hear some of her characteristics as a songwriter in it.
“Really?” she says. “I’m happy to hear that. We wrote it entirely as a team, no one of us contributed more than the others. But I guess that each one of us left their fingerprints on the song in different ways. One always does.”
When I ask if her trip to London now is connected to the contest Greta Salóme says no. She is there in a very different capacity this time.
“I’m directing an Icelandic production of Phantom of the Opera which will premier in February and my trip to London now is because of that. But I will meet RAYA, who performs our song tomorrow, so I guess you could say that the trip is a bit connected to the song contest.”
Asked what she thinks of Crazy’s chances to win the contest in Brighton and become UK’s song in Lisbon in May Greta Salóme says she has no idea.
“The songs were just released today and as I have been travelling all day I have not had the opportunity to listen to them, so I have no idea of our chances. And to be honest it really does not matter if we win or not. It’s been such a joy being a part of this process that I’m not even thinking about winning.”
“I’m directing an Icelandic production of Phantom of the Opera which will premier in February and my trip to London now is because of that.”
Having been the singer of two Icelandic contributions in Eurovision, 2012 and 2016, with her own songs Greta Salóme says that the feeling now is completely different.
“It’s a much more relaxed approach,” she says. “And in the contest “Eurovision: You Decide in Brighton” I will do a thing I’ve never done before; sit in the auditorium with the public and just enjoy the show! I’m really looking forward to that!”
Apart from being one of the songwriters for BBC and directing The Phantom of the Opera in Iceland Greta Salóme is releasing a new song, Wildfire, next Tuesday and getting ready to play Satine in an Icelandic production of Moulin Rouge this spring. Has she played a character in a musical before?
“No, actually not,” she says with a laugh. “But I’ve been a performer for a long time and one way or another you are always playing a part when you’re performing. So it’s not as big a step as many think. The Moulin Rouge production is going to be spectacular and I can’t wait to start rehearsing that. It’s really an exciting project.”
We will come back to Moulin Rouge later but for now you can listen to RAYA perform the song Crazy and cross your fingers that luck will be on the side of her and Greta Salóme in Brighton on February 7th.
Main photo: Greta has been the singer and composer of two Icelandic contributions in Eurovision, 2012 and 2016. Photo / Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson